Baazov Still Says He Wants to Buy Amaya Despite Primary Backer Disinterest

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(Reuters) - Amaya Inc's (AYA.TO) former chief executive David Baazov said he still plans to buy the online gambling firm despite one of his apparent backers saying it had no involvement in the C$3.65 billion ($2.7 billion) bid.

Shares of the company, which fell 6 percent on Tuesday and were down 1 percent earlier on Wednesday, rose 2.6 percent higher after Baazov issued a statement saying he was looking to obtain alternative funding.

The status of Baazov's offer had been in doubt after the Globe and Mail newspaper published an interview with Kalini Lal, the CEO of Dubai-based investment firm KBC Aldini Capital, one of four international investors named by Baazov as his backers, in which Lal said his firm had not agreed to provide funds.

Baazov said in the statement that he had been advised by representatives of KBC Aldini Capital that an equity commitment letter purported to be delivered to him on behalf of KBC was delivered without KBC's knowledge and confirmed KBC has not committed to provide financing.

"Baazov intends to obtain replacement financing and still currently intends to acquire Amaya on the terms previously disclosed by him on November 14, 2016," the statement said.

Baazov, who already owns about 17 percent of Amaya, said last week he was making an offer worth C$24 per share on behalf of a to-be-formed entity led by him and backed by four international investors, including KBC Aldini.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Kalani Lal, KBC Aldini's CEO and founder, said: "I don't know who Amaya is. We have not given any commitment, nor have we had any discussions or any type of verbal communication."

Lal said KBC Aldini had filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates Amaya in the United States. The SEC and Quebec's securities regulator, which regulates the firm in Canada, declined to comment.

Amaya said in a statement after the market closed on Tuesday that it was continuing to "carefully assess" Baazov's proposal, including the information contained in the Globe and Mail report, and would make no further comment at this time.

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